Ask a Pediatrician: When Does a Nosebleed Need a Doctor’s Visit?

Dr. Jeremy Friedman, chief of pediatric medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, answers your most pressing questions about your child's health

Photography by Tim Arnold, via Flickr (CC)

Q: When do you know if a nosebleed warrants a trip to the emergency room?

A: Nosebleeds are very common but can be scary (especially for those who don’t like the sight of blood) and messy! Every grandmother has a tip for how to stop a nosebleed but I have found that 99 percent will stop bleeding if you tightly squeeze the two sides of the soft part of the nose together and continue to apply firm and consistent pressure for 10 to 15 minutes. Practice it now to get comfortable…remember you are squeezing the soft part together not the hard nasal bridge. And no peeking to check until at least 10 minutes have passed. Children are most comfortable with their heads tilted slightly forward so that the blood does not trickle down the back of the throat. Once it stops it is very important to resist all temptation to sniff, pick or blow the nose for a few hours as you can easily dislodge the clot. In the very rare instance that the nose is still bleeding after 20 to 30 minutes, then head off to the ER.

Dr. Jeremy Friedman is the chief of pediatric medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

For more advice from Dr. Friedman, be sure to check out these questions:
• How Do I Prevent My Child from Getting Head Lice?
• What Are the Signs of Celiac Disease?
• Does My Child Need More Sleep?
• What’s the Best Age to Get My Kids Tested for Allergies?










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